Very few people empathize with the challenge of finding and retaining talent in the social space. Among the many constraints that organizations in the sector experience, I would rate the lack of human capital as one of the biggest. The lack of awareness that there is a need for high quality talent and leadership in social organizations, the relatively low remuneration are probably a few common reasons for this.
With all these challenges, if Rang De has been able to stay around for 10 years, it has mainly been because of the people who work with us.
I must say that luck has had played a very important role in this, where the best people have landed on our door step seeking opportunities. For this, I consider ourselves fortunate.
The challenge does not just end at getting high quality talent to join the team. It also lies in helping them perform to their best. This is true not just of freshers or the younger generation but very often for highly talented, senior professionals who come from the corporate world. It can be quite demanding for someone from a corporate background to work in an organization like Rang De, as the challenges we are tackling are not as easy to overcome as the ones in a corporate organisation.
Having said that, there have been a few amazing people who have joined us and contributed so much to our growth that it is incredible. Nothing got in their way of joining us and performing at their peak.
Today, we bid goodbye to one such team member — Rajesh. He joined us as an unassuming technology professional and in the last couple of years, also led our technology efforts from the front.
In the three years of his stint with Rang De, not once did he compromise on quality by setting lower benchmarks or delivering a sub-optimal product just because we are a non-profit. He was a thorough professional who always set the bar very, very high not just for the technology team at Rang De but the organization as a whole.
Everything that Rajesh did was top class, delivered on time, and in line with our business needs. He was also able to question us when a few of our demands were unreasonable. An IITian — not that he cared much about it — he remained humble yet assertive and silently steered Rang De’s growth.
During his leadership the technology team was able to pull off many initiatives, some that were unthinkable and belied their size.
Rajesh had the discomfiting ability to call a spade a spade — and he did this more than once. Many times, this was liable to rub his colleagues the wrong way but everyone knew he meant well. A no non-sense person who spoke his mind, he had a deep connect with the organization and commanded everyone’s respect because of his performance and thorough professionalism. He never let a passion for the cause become a weakness; instead, he backed it up with a quiet fortitude that helped him perform more.
A newbie who did not know Rajesh might have wondered what he was doing at Rang De. But for some of us who knew him, he was a rare gem — very difficult to find in this world, let alone the social space. And today, with very heavy hearts, we bid goodbye to him. Deep inside, all of us had a sense of satisfaction and comfort that Rajesh had played his best innings and perhaps it was time for him to find a newer challenge.
Rajesh leaves behind a void, setting the standard so high that his absence may be felt for a long time. But he also taught us that one should never compromise, so until we find another Rajesh, the void may never get filled.
We will miss you, Rajesh!
By Smita Ram
Smita is the co-founder and Managing Trustee of Rang De.